Madurai rural district police on Thursday arrested a seven-member gang, including a woman, in connection with the kidnap of a businessman here on Saturday.

Rahul Singh, who runs an utensils shop in Lakshmipuram, went missing from his house early Saturday morning. Later, his father, Dablat Singh, hailing from Rajasthan, received an anonymous call demanding a ransom of Rs.10 lakh for his son’s safe return.

The father approached the police.

However, the kidnapped youth returned saying that he was set free by the gang.

Rahul Singh, a married man, claimed he befriended a woman over his mobile phone a few days ago.

The woman had asked him to go to the Ring Road to meet her. When he arrived there, he was kidnapped by a masked gang in an omni van

A special team, led by the Inspector of Police, R. Uma Shankar, (Avaniapuram) traced the kidnappers through the mobile phone.

The police identified the woman caller as 31-year-old R. Mareeswari, a widow from Kamarajapuram.

The police said that her accomplice V. Prabhakaran of Kamarajapuram worked in a shop neighbouring Rahul Singh’s shop.

A college drop-out, Prabhakaran conspired with his relative, R. Muniyasamy, a share auto-driver of the same locality, to kidnap Rahul Singh and extort money from his father.

The widow was enlisted to lure the businessman, Mr. Uma Shankar said.

"When he came to the Ring Road on his bike, the gang intercepted him and whisked him towards Ramanathapuram in a van," the Inspector said. The widow did not show up at the rendezvous point.

The gang hired the van and Muniyasamy used his friend P. Sakthivel, an autorickshaw driver, to drive the van.

The businessman duped his abducters into believing he could raise some money from a friend and led them towards the city. By then the police were on their trail.

The gang released Rahul Singh before fleeing the scene.

The police arrested Muniyasamy, Prabhakaran, Vivek (mason), M. Bhoopathi and Balamurugan of Kamuthi, who aided the gang.

The van, a motorbike and two knives were seized from their possession.

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